For the first time in the competition’s history, the FIFA World Cup will not be played in either May, June or July this year. Instead, the international tournament will take place in November and December – giving Chelsea a possible boost in the summer transfer market.
When players are on international duty with their respective countries, it makes striking a deal to sign them that extra bit harder. However, when the UEFA Nations League fixtures finish tomorrow, it means Chelsea can accelerate their plans this summer.
The Blues, who are now under new ownership, are set for an extremely busy summer. There are expected to be plenty of outgoings, meaning Thomas Tuchel and the club’s board will be looking for even more incomings than usual.
So, with this being said, football.london takes a look at the seven deals Chelsea can look at getting on with once the international break concludes later on in the week…
Chelsea have identified Manchester City forward Gabriel Jesus as a target this summer. The Blues have held talks with the Brazil international’s agent, football.london understands, with just 12 months remaining on his contract in Manchester.
The 25-year-old arrived at City in 2017 from Palmeiras as a number nine, but he has been used all over the front three by Pep Guardiola. Jesus has become a fluid attacker, but Chelsea may be able to give him what he wants as a central striker.
Arsenal and Tottenham are also said to be keeping a close eye on the Brazilian’s situation, though, which could see the three London rivals become involved in a bidding war. Chelsea, if they are indeed serious about Jesus, need to try and get some groundwork in sooner rather than later. He featured in Brazil’s win versus Japan recently and will now relax before reporting back to Man City for their pre-season schedule.
Chelsea will also be hoping they can kick on with talks to sign Ousmane Dembele on a free transfer. The France international’s contract with Barcelona is due to expire at the end of the month with lots of interest in his signature.
Dembele and Chelsea have already held talks over a move this summer, football.london understands, but Paris Saint-Germain, who are also very keen on the winger, remain a threat to the Blues. The 25-year-old will now leave the France camp with Les Bleus playing their final Nations League fixture (until September) against Croatia last night (Monday evening).
Another man who is now set to return from the France camp is Jules Kounde. Chelsea are hopeful of striking a deal with Sevilla in the near future to sign the 23-year-old centre-back, who the Blues came so close to bringing in last summer.
Kounde has already agreed personal terms with Chelsea, football.london has been told, but an agreement over the fee for his services is yet to be reached. The Blues need to continue talking to Sevilla in the coming weeks to strike a deal with the Spanish club to bring in their first-choice central defender.
football.london reported on Sunday evening that Chelsea were close to completing a deal to sign the 18-year-old Chicago Fire goalkeeper Gabriel Slonina. The Blues are hopeful they can get the deal to sign the teenage American over the line in the near future ahead of Real Madrid, who are also interested.
N’Golo Kante has just over 12 months remaining on his contract at Stamford Bridge. Chelsea head coach Tuchel reiterated towards the end of last season just how crucial the France international, who picked up an injury while on duty for his country, is to his Blues squad.
He said: “I think he is our key, key, key player, but key, key, key players need to be on the pitch. He plays only 40 per cent of the games then it is maybe a miracle that we arrive in third place.
“He is our Mo Salah, he is our [Virgil] Van Dijk, he is our [Kevin] De Bruyne. He is simply that player, he is our Neymar and Kylian Mbappe.
“He is that guy who makes the difference, and if you only have him for 40 per cent, then it is a huge problem. Given that percentage, it is maybe a miracle that he produces results.
“It puts everything into perspective as I saw Liverpool without Van Dijk last season, and they struggled heavily. You see the difference. N’Golo is our key player, and we need him on the pitch.”
Another man who was injured on international duty is Romelu Lukaku. The Belgium striker limped off for his country last week with an ankle problem. There is, however, a chance Lukaku will play some football in the Red Devils’ clash with Poland this evening.
football.london understands that the 29-year-old striker is desperate to leave Chelsea this summer despite only re-joining the club last year. Inter Milan are thought to be Lukaku’s preferred destination, but a deal is rather complicated.
Chelsea will not want to lose much of the £97.5million they spent on the Belgian last summer. Inter, though, will be unable to afford anywhere close to that figure and would rather bring him in on a season-long loan deal.
That in itself is complicated, though, with Lukaku’s current wage at Chelsea said to be around £325,000-a-week. The Blues may need to pay a hefty sum of his weekly wage if he is indeed going to depart Stamford Bridge this summer. Any deal for the aforementioned Jesus may rely on an exit for Lukaku.
Like Kante, Jorginho is almost into the final year of his contract with Chelsea. The Italian midfielder divides opinion to this day and has been linked with a move back to the Serie A.
Juventus are said to be keeping a close eye on Jorginho’s situation and could look to make a move for him before the beginning of the new season. The midfielder could be in action tonight for Italy as they travel to Germany in their Nations League clash after drawing 0-0 with England at the weekend.